Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Warbler Day!

I thought I had missed the warblers this year.  On our High Island Trip, I saw only one warbler, a Blackpoll Warbler.  It was a really good warbler.  I hadn't seen before and I got two really good looks at it.  I was happy with what I got to see, but I missed the variety of past years.  For those of you who don't know, warblers are a group of small sized, distinctly patterned and colored birds.  They are beautiful!  They are insect-eaters so they are not lured to yards or bird blinds by feeders.  The best time of year in TX to see warblers is during Spring migration as they fly through in their bright breeding plumage. 

It is mid-May and migration is nearly over.  So, you can image my delight on Sunday morning when, we discovered warblers dripping from the trees at Hornsby Bend.  There were Wilson's, Blackburnian, American Redstart, Nashville, Yellow Warblers, and others.  A cold front and Northern wind made the birds stop for rest and to eat (in birding circles this is known as fall-out).  Hooray!!!  Well, not if your the warbler.  Not only were we lucky enough to get to see the warblers, but there was also a flock of Wilson's Phalarope on the pond.  Phalarope are a type of graceful shorebird.  They nest in the Northwest US and Canada.  We get to see them about once per year.  I have continued to see warblers on my morning walks with the dogs.  The dogs must hate birding, but they do get to be out longer.  Walk, stop, look at birds, walk slowly, stop, walk some more.

My brother John, just home from Iraq/Kuwait, made a surprise visit, and got to go birding with us on Sunday.  He isn't a birder, and actually gives my mom a hard time about getting old and watching the birds.  I'm not sure if he realized how great a bird morning he got, but I'm glad we got to share it with him.  Two other special birds that John got to see were Painted Buntings and Scissor-tailed Flycatchers.  I am a little obsessed with Scissor-tails and every time I see one I have to point it out.  They are common in Central Texas, but they never get old to me.  Birds are so amazing.  The migrate so far, and have so many obstacles.  They are beautiful, and it is special to get to see them as they fly on their way.  I am thankful for Warbler Days!  

I forgot to take my camera on Sunday!  So you get sketches and a painting I did after our 2010 High Island trip.  Here are some links if you would like to see photographs and range maps of warblers or phalaropes.

Warbler sketches, 2012 (birds are not to scale :))

Wilson's Phalarope sketch, 2012

Warblers of Boy Scout Woods, High Island TX, painted 2010